T Kenyatta Walker will be unavailable until Monday due to a stomach illness
While Tampa Bay Buccaneer players and coaches met during the early evening of the first day of training camp on Friday, the team's player personnel men continued to busily jump through a variety of roster-related hoops.
After a series of moves earlier in the day that included pending signings of six 2004 draft picks, the Bucs made another half-dozen maneuvers in the evening to confirm to NFL-mandated camp roster limits.
The Bucs' most recent roster moves are:
- Announced they would place WR Keenan McCardell on the reserve-did not report list on Saturday morning * Placed T Kenyatta Walker on the active-non-football illness list * Released rookie WR Chris Collins * Released first-year WR Fabian Davis * Released seventh-year CB Tommy Knight * Excused S Dwight Smith until Monday for personal reasons
The first and last entries on that list are obviously the most noteworthy, as they deal with players who did not report to camp on Friday. The team had braced for McCardell's absence, as the 13th-year receiver had indicated he would not rejoin the team without a reworked contract. Smith's absence was less expected, at least publicly, but should only last through the weekend. Technically, the team's decision on Smith was not really a roster move.
Head Coach Jon Gruden's reaction to McCardell's decision was also as expected: The team will move on with the players who are in camp.
"This is not a surprise as he didn't show up at the passing camp dates or the mandatory mini-camp dates and has said that he will not come to training camp until an agreement has been reached," said Gruden. "I don't want to say too much besides the fact that we support his feelings and look at him as a leader on the team and as a great guy. But we will move on if we have to, if those are the cards we're dealt.
"It appears that there are no negotiations at this time, but I can't say that that has been taking up a lot of my time as [General Manager] Bruce Allen will handle that. I have read some of the comments as they have been written in the papers, but this will all resolve itself one way or the other, whether he comes in or chooses not to, we will have to do the best we can until he does."
Walker is suffering from a stomach illness, which prompted his temporary move to the non-football illness list. Gruden believes the fourth-year lineman will be recovered and back on the practice field by Monday.
The release of three players helps the Buccaneers get down to their required roster limit of 88 active men. The baseline NFL limit is 80 players, but teams earn exemptions to that total through NFL Europe participation; the Bucs picked up eight of those exempted spots, though they must be filled by players who participated in the NFLEL season this past spring.
Collins, an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi, signed with the team on April 30, just after the 2004 draft. Davis was a 2003 undrafted free agent who performed well in training camp last summer and spent most of last season on the Bucs' practice squad. Knight, formerly of the Cardinals and Ravens, joined the Buccaneers as a free agent on March 15. He has 281 tackles and three sacks in six NFL seasons.